Mr Mead’s ‘Dark Suits’ Playing Cards

07 Feb

Tom Mead is an artist who admires the surreal and otherworldly sides of art. He uses a traditional drawing technique working with dip pen and ink.

Tom’s terror and intrigue for animals dressed as humans stems from his memories of Reginald Mills’ 1976 ballet film, “The Tales of Beatrix Potter”. Deciding to embrace his fear Tom has recently found a passion for more the traditional artistic techniques and has developed his ink based style to create dark inhuman characters blending the animal, human and mechanic, a super species he nicknames ‘Bio-Mechanical Anthropomorphism’.

Tom’s practice is inspired by artists such as Koji Morimoto, Remi Wyart and Shaun Tan. He is also highly influenced by the surrealist American contemporary art scene.

Working from the eminent Jamaica Street Studios in Stokes Croft, Bristol, Tom creates artwork for folk tales, album covers and poster designs alongside producing his large-scale works. He also launched a new edition of playing cards, each adorned with one of his characters.

Mr Mead launched a new edition of playing cards each adorned with one of his characters in April 2011.

Mr Mead has produced a new edition of playing cards, with each card in the pack adorned with one of his ‘Bio-mechanical anthropomorphic’ characters. The characters are grouped by family into the four suits, Birds adopt the Hearts, Horned Beasts the Diamonds, Cats the Spades and Foxes the Clubs.” ~ Antlers Gallery









antlers shop

Playing Card Back 5mm



Mr Mead at work:

There are several editions of this deck. As I can understan those editions have different tuck cases, different colours of “black” pips and different elements on their backs (see below).


Dark suits2(a6)



Tom Mead:          Twitter   |   Facebook

Antlers Gallery:   Twitter   |   Facebook


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2 responses to “Mr Mead’s ‘Dark Suits’ Playing Cards

  1. Nate

    12.07.2016 at 22:31

    I got an update from the artist a few years ago on the versions and added to the related entries at Portfolio 52 (example –

    A total of 4 versions were printed in 6 runs of 100 each. Each version uses the same cards, but a different tuck for each version. Initially released in April 2011 as v1 with 100 decks using a tuckbox featuring a rat head and Antlers Gallery ‘A’ logo on the back, as they were sold by only or at the gallery reception event. Shortly after a 2nd version was printed using the Diving Bull (AoD) on the tuckbox with 100 more decks. This was followed by another 100 printing as v3 using the Voxman (AoC) on the tuckbox. Finally the v4 in 3 print runs of 100 each using the foxhead logo, also known as the ‘artist edition’.

    • Collector

      13.07.2016 at 13:13

      Yes, it’s true. And I won’t be surprised to see v5, 6, 7 … 🙂 The main faces are almost the same (there are some small experiments with indices), so it doesn’t have sense to update the article with each new 100 decks printed. Try to imagine 100 articles about decks with the same commercial strategy reviewed on this site. Will I have time for other decks trying to cover all new small runs of reviewed ones? Some periods is better for updates in this case. You have made the update with your comment, so really thank you. And good luck with your own on-line platform devoted to playing cards (publicized in your comment).


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